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Top Ten Backgrounds for Commander


Hello awesome people! I have a fun Top Ten List for you Commander fans! What are best Backgrounds for that format? We'll be giving this my normal Top Ten and then three honorable mentions. Ready?

Honorable Mention #1 (#13 Overall) - Haunted One

Haunted One

Our first of three tribal Backgrounds in a row is this three-drop Black option. When your Commander is tapped, it gets +2 power and then undying. So it wants to swing and then tap and then get the power boost which will help it win much more quickly with Commander Damage. Then your Commander will come back with a +1/+1 counter when it dies, if it didn't have one, so that's a nice way of getting one free redo before it heads to your Command Zone, which also encourages the swinging. But this doesn't end there. Your creature that shares a type with it also gets those two bonuses. So, this really likes to deal in the red zone with a tribe that swings, and is Black. Take Zombies as a good example. Now they'll swing with +2 power and undying to come back once. That's nasty here. I also like this with Black tappers like Ghoulcaller Gisa since you can tap and give them undying right before they die to destruction removal like Murder and Wrath of God. See why it's on my list?

Honorable Mention #2 (#12 Overall) - Acolyte of Bahamut

Acolyte of Bahamut

If you control your Commander, your first Dragon spell each turn will be two generic mana fewer. I love it from the Command Zone on turn 2, and then your Dragon loving Commander like Red's Ganax, Astral Hunter on turn 5, and then your cheaper things the next turn. Also, this with four-drop Blue's Renari, Merchant of Marvels is very strong since they'll be flash and two fewer and in Simic and colorless there are a strong 69 options that are very powerful for your consideration. I also just like this in any Dragon deck that includes Green given the two mana off you'll get since Dragons are the most popular tribe in Commander. It's very strong there.

Honorable Mention #3 (#11 Overall) - Folk Hero

Folk Hero

Our final tribal card is this fun White two-drop. When you control your Commander, your spells cast that share a creature type with it draw a card! But just once per turn. This is brilliant in any tribal brew that includes White, like popular ones like Selesnya Humans around Kyler, Sigardian Emissary to rarer ones like Boros Samurai around Raiyuu, Storm's Edge. Or anything 5C with Morophon in it. Or Cats, or Soldiers, or Warriors, or Spirits or whatever else shares a color identity with White. Note that this is a cast trigger not an ETB one, so it won't work with tokens. I love this in Orzhov party with Burakos, Party Leader since he's all four types.

#10. Agent of the Iron Throne

Agent of the Iron Throne

The Agent is a three-drop Black uncommon. When you control your Commander, dying artifacts and creatures you control will force your foes to each lose a life. Note that there is no "nontoken" word here, so it works with those too. As your background, this will serve as a win con in any Aristocrats or Sacrifice matters decks in the Command Zone. These are built around things like sacrificing Bloodghast or another self-recursive dork to a mana making like Ashnod's Altar than triggering Blood Artist and bringing it back for what mana you spent. In that brew, your dying things will kill without anything from your deck. That's nasty synergy here. It's also strong outside of the Command Zone since it works for artifacts and on a harder to answer enchantment. Nice!

#9. Master Chef

Master Chef

Our first (but not only) common on this chart! Your Commanders enter the battlefield with another +1/+1 counter on them. As do your other dorks if you control both. This is great in a few places. First of all, in a +1/+1 counter brew, where this will increase their size. It also makes everything arrive with a counter, even ones that don't normally, so your Armorcraft Judge will count himself for card draw. From Abzan to Simic, there have been a load of +1/+1 counter matters archetypes, but all are Green. I also like this in Gruul Modified just printed in our return to Kamigawa. Here all your things will have counters on them, so they'll all count as modified for your Chishiro, the Shattered Blade which will continue to put more and more counters on them. They'll have trample with Kami of the West Tree. It's also good in Gruul power matters or Fight decks where you want to have more power from just doing your things. Good stuff and you can see why this on my deck.

#8. Inspiring Leader

Inspiring Leader

Another White Background! This three-drop uncommon is very strong in a few builds, but not obviously, so we'll look at that now. Your Commander's will give your tokens +2/+2 permanently if you control both. It's obviously great in Token decks where you want to kill with your going-wide team as fast as possible. It'll speed you up by turns. Got it!

#7. Cloakwood Hermit

Cloakwood Hermit

Hitting roughly halfway on my list is this three-drop uncommon! At each of your end steps, if a creature was put into your graveyard from...anywhere...make two tapped 1/1 Squirrel tokens. Nasty! There are so many ways to abuse this! For example, Golgari Aristocrats? Jund Sacrifice led by Korvold, Fae-Cursed King? Those will kill your stuff for triggers like Mayhem Devil. Now you can make two tokens for free for sacrificing fun times! Then there is another deck this works in...see it? Sidisi, Brood Tyrant that wants to self-mill and hit dorks for triggers! Self-mill will love this all day long. There is another here too...what? Cycling! You can cycle a dork and then that entered your battlefield, make a pair of tokens EOT! This is also strong in Selesnya and Gruul Tokens and Golgari Squirrels. It's waaaaay better than it looks, and you should really push this all day long and all night too!

#6. Criminal Past

Criminal Past

Yet another three-drop. Yet another uncommon. This time it gives your Commander evasion in the form of menace and then gets a power boost equal to their graveyard creature count, so it's a win con in the Command Zone as both of those work very nicely together! This is very strong in decks that are graveyard literate and Black, like Reanimation around things like Buried Alive and Reanimate, Animate Dead, or others. Just like the previous card this is also strong in cycling and self-mill brews as well, and it's in the color of cycling matters engines like Archfiend of Ifnir. Nasty! But this is really strong in combination with the next card if you are including both colors!

#5. Flaming Fist

Flaming Fist

Top Five Time! Another three-drop, this time in White, but a common! This is our highest charting White Background. This fun thing will give your Commanders double strike when they attack. That's broken with the previous card with the evasion menace as well as power boost equal to your graveyard's creature count. It's great in loads of other places too, like Boros Voltron where you give your leader double strike for attacking to kill twice as fast with Commander Damage and then the power boosts from equipment or auras. Nasty. I also like this with White and adjacent colors with combat damage triggers since they'll trigger twice with this. Medomai the Ageless is one good example, another is the Azorius Blink Leader Brago, King Eternal which will now get twice the blinks for each combat step. I also like this with two Commanders with partner, if they are mixing it up in the red zone with the attacks. Nasty stuff here, nasty stuff.

We have four slots left, but 6 cards in them! But just three colors, no more Black or White.

#4. Clan Crafter AND Street Urchin

Clan Crafter
Street Urchin

Check out this pair of Izzet Backgrounds that cost two. The Blue one gives your Commanders the ability to sacrifice an artifact for two generic mana and then draw a card and put a +1/+1 counter on the Commander. Sacrifice in the Command Zone is very strong, especially one that draws a card! The Red one lets your Commanders sacrifice another dork or artifact for one generic mana to shoot any target for one damage. Each is very strong and work in the same decks. With all the Treasure support now, sacrificing for two to draw and put a counter on your leader will make them better Clues. Then you can also ping things to finish things off, kill smaller toughness things like Esper Sentinel and Soul Warden and Birds of Paradise, and loads more. Very strong indeed!

Of the next four, we still have Red and Blue, so all three colors are left.

#3. Shameless Charlatan

Shameless Charlatan

This is a fast two mana. Your Commanders will become copies of another target creature for three mana each. Note that this works on any creature you can target, not just yours. Also note that this does not end. If your foe has a better Commander for the board state, copy it! If you control an Arcanis the Omnipotent to tap for three cards and your Commander has been around for a turn and can now tap, copy it and draw six now. You can also use this as a copy effect in the Command Zone as your Background. There are Copy Tribal decks in Commander where you copy your Commander with things that allow you to have more than one legendary like Mirror Gallery. Since you built your deck around your Commander, this is likely to be the best option out there. This fits into Clone Tribal quite nicely on a harder to answer enchantment. Note that this fun thing is our highest hitting Blue Background.

And then there were two!

#2. Raised by Giants

Raised by Giants

Our penultimate Background and top scoring Green and six-drop is this fun thing! For six, your Commanders now have a power and toughness of 10 each, nasty for the game-winning. This is great in many places like Gruul Fight Club, Power-Matters, Toughness-Matters, Voltron to kill in three hits with any base power power dork, cheap dorks with utility that want a win con, and loads more. It's played in 5,593 decks registered over at EDHREC.com which is pretty good for the fun times. I also love this with two partner Commanders since that will be a fast kill. Also note that this does make them Giants for that tribe too, in case you care. Nasty!

What Red pair takes my top spot?

#1. Passionate Archeologist with a Shout Out to Tavern Brawler

passionate archaeologist
Tavern Brawler

When you control your Commander, then when you cast a spell from exile, you shoot each foe for damage equal to its mana value. Since Red regularly casts from the exiling of the top cards of their library as their card flow, that's very strong there. It's great in Rakdos with Prosper, or as a Background with Green's Durnan of the Yawning Portal. This thing also works well with the many exile and cast mechanics like suspend and foretell and adventure. Shout out to our final common, Tavern Brawler which will let your Commander exile the top card of their library their upkeep and then cast it and the Commander gets power boosts equal to the mana cost as well, so they play well together. Great combo to finish things with!

And there we go! Those are my top Backgrounds ever printed for Commander! I hope you enjoyed it.

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